I had a conversation this morning with Matt Langman, marketing director of Intel's embedded computing division. He called in from CES to discuss Intel's new second-generation Core processors. The processors, which are based on new architecture, have been in the works for a few years. They are used in a variety of market segments, but seven of the processors are specifically designed for embedded markets such as medical.
Matt mentioned several elements of the Core processors that would be beneficial to medical OEMs. The first is improved image reconstruction, which is perfect for medical imaging, one of Intel's target areas for this new line. Another is the AVX (advanced vector extensions—an extension to the x86 instruction set architecture for Intel's microprocessors), which accelerate floating-point compute performance in image processing applications. He also mentioned that many embedded board manufacturers have announced support for the new processors, so medical OEMs "will have rich ecosystems to support them."
The processors are also geared toward portable ultrasound devices. But what got my attention was the potential applications for 3-D imaging. (For those who are attending CES, Intel is showing some demos on the floor that showcase the 3-D capabilities.) The first-generation Core processors did have some stereoscopic capabilities, but those capabilities have been boosted in the next iteration. An organization in Mexico, Medicina a Distancia, is already planning "the development of a stereoscopic 3-D medical video transmission system and we believe that [the Core processor] can be extremely useful in some situations where a patient's life may be at real risk, or the 3-D image can provide details that cannot be transmitted in any other way," according to founder Carlos Iglesias.
Not a bad way for Intel to start the year. —Lawrence Lloyd